Islet Cell Transplant

Two Types of Transplants

Allogeneic Islet Cell Transplant

Transplantation of donor pancreatic islet cells (allogeneic islet cell transplantation) into patients with type I diabetes may reverse the disease without need for major surgery. In this procedure, islet cells extracted from the pancreas of one or two diseased donors are infused via a catheter into the recipient's liver, where they eventually produce insulin, which regulates blood sugar.

Autologous Islet Cell Transplant

In a similar procedure, the patient's own pancreas is processed to extract the islet cells (autologous islet cell transplantation) and prevent type I diabetes when the pancreas is removed for other reasons, generally chronic pancreatitis.

The primary goal of this operation is pain relief, where removing the pancreas relieves the patient of the pain of chronic pancreatitis. The obvious concern is that without a pancreas the patient is guaranteed to develop type I diabetes. If the pancreas is in an acceptable condition, however, transplantation of the patient's own islet cells may prevent the development of diabetes.

About Islet Cell Transplant at NYP

NewYork-Presbyterian is a center of research and expertise in islet cell transplantation to treat type I diabetes. The first successful allogeneic islet cell transplant in the New York Tri-State area was performed at NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell. Allogeneic islet cell transplantation is still in the research phase, however, and more work is needed before it can be utilized on a wider scale.

The first pancreatectomy with autologous islet cell was performed at NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia University Medical Center IN 2014. NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia is the first center in the greater New York metropolitan area to offer autologous islet cell transplantation. The endeavor is a joint effort between NYP/Columbia's Pancreas Center and the Stem Cell Laboratory of the Department of Pathology. Patients who need a total pancreatectomy for benign diseases (such as chronic pancreatitis) may be eligible for this procedure to avoid type I diabetes.


Columbia University Medical Center

Renal and Pancreatic Transplant Program
Phone: 212-305-6469

The Pancreas Center
Phone: 212-305-9467

Weill Cornell Medical Center

Kidney and Pancreas Transplant Programs
Phone: 212-746-3099